Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Christopher J Lee Argues for the Complexity and Continued Importance of Frantz Fanon in A New Jacana Pocket History

A Jacana Pocket History: Frantz Fanon“Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.” – Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Psychiatrist, philosopher, and revolutionary, Frantz Fanon (1925 – 1961) is one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. Born on the island of Martinique, he died in the United States from cancer, following a meteoric career that took him to France, Algeria, Tunisia, and numerous places in between. He presented powerful critiques of racism, colonialism and nationalism in his classic books, Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961). Yet Fanon remains controversial, given his advocacy of violent struggle, and, consequently, is often misunderstood.

“Christopher Lee has written a delightfully compelling introduction to the works, life and times of Frantz Fanon. Well researched and thoroughly grounded, Lee’s study admirably situates Fanon in the broadest historical context, while subtly explaining Fanon’s powerful legacy today. This book taught me many things, revealing in intriguing ways the works of a black thinker from Martinique who so passionately embraced the Algerian Revolution, and so ardently desired to be embraced by it.” – Henry Louis Gates, Jr, Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

This biography seeks to demythologise Fanon by situating his life and ideas within the historical circumstances he encountered. Synthesising a range of secondary literature with first-hand readings of his work, it elevates enduring aspects of Fanon’s legacy, while also countering interpretations of his writing that have granted uncritical omniscience to his views. Written with clarity and passion, Lee’s account ultimately argues for the complexity of Frantz Fanon and his continued importance today.

About the author

Christopher J Lee is based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is the editor of Making a World after Empire: The Bandung Moment and Its Political Afterlives (2010), which was recently shortlisted for the 2015 Africa-Asia Book Prize, and the author of Unreasonable Histories: Nativism, Multiracial Lives, and the Genealogical Imagination in British Africa (2014). He has previously taught in the United States and Canada at Stanford, Harvard, Dalhousie, and at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He received his PhD in African history from Stanford University.

Book details


Please register or log in to comment